Yaminah MayoComment

A Sign of Defeat

Yaminah MayoComment
A Sign of Defeat


Before the death of Karl Lagerfeld last month at the age of 85, he famously said that “sweatpants are a sign of defeat.” He opined that wearers of sweatpants had “lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.” I’m sure his comments were simply a ploy to keep the ladies of La Cote Basque (I’m reading Truman Capote’s Unanswered Prayers) out of cushy Champion sweat sets and in the luxurious tweed of Chanel. However, today, I have gained the backbone to unequivocally say that Mr. Lagerfeld lied. Karl lied. Fibbed. Sweatpants are the greatest thing to have happened to my closet in the last month and I will defend their honor until the end.

My love affair with these pants of swish began when I needed a  comfortable pant for rollerskating in Boston. I was browsing through the sales section at Urban Outfitters (as I usually do when I visit my mom in Massachusetts) and stumbled upon the noisy pant. I tried them on and it was as if a lightbulb went off: sweatpants were the missing detail in my journey to complete sartorial nonchalance.

Sweats are so multifaceted. They can be worn to lift weights at the gym or a fork at brunch. They are a meaningful gesture when meeting a friend for a weekday breakfast check-in. They say, “It’s 8 a.m. and our meeting means so much to me that I threw on these pants and rushed here to be on time.” If that is not friendship at its finest, I don’t know what is.

Sweatpants are also a necessity for lounging and running errands. Errands are a time for comfort but the word comfort seems to always be followed by word disheveled and its slobbish synonyms these days. However, when accoutred in a pair of loafers or sandals, these pants can transform from slob to sleek in no time. Not to mention, groceries and laundry are probably lugged more easily in leisurewear than jeans.

From movie night with friends to hauling groceries up and down the Upper West Side to Sunday laundry, sweatpants can be crucial in the execution of weekly mundanities. That is not to say that an outfit founded by the ever-evolving leisurewear needs to be drab or sloppy. It can have flair and personality while still maintaining function as needed by the wearer. I’m excited to have been reintroduced to this exercise staple. This pant has streamlined my dressing process when running simple errands. I can just reach for what’s comfortable and run out the door (my North Star of dressing goals). My dressing process is no longer bogged down with thoughts of how long I can survive in jeans or which jeans go with what shirt. Everything is now interchangeable (which to an outfit changer like me) is a dream come true. Now, who’s for groceries?!